Texas

Pegasus Books

Richard Parker’s newest book, Lone Star Nation, is described as a provocative and eye-opening look at the most explosive and controversial state in America, where everything is bigger, bolder—and shaping our nation’s future in surprising ways by Amazon.

Karen Olsson reviewed the book for the New York Times

She says:

Parker’s short book caters to lighter appetites: It’s a tray of Texas nibbles. Included are a capsule history of the state; personal reminiscence and travels; policy analysis; a look at the 2014 governor’s race; and man-on-the-street (or woman-in-the-Starbucks) interviews, not to mention a list of 300 famous Texans and three pages of Texas-related quotations.

Caleb Bryant Miller / KUT News

Texas exonerated more people than any other state last year.

13 Texans who were wrongly convicted of crimes were officially absolved of wrongdoing in 2013, for crimes ranging from murder to drug possession. They spent a matter of months to more than a decade in prison, the Texas Tribune reports.

KERA

While the individual mandate requires ever American to have health insurance, there is a big exception to the Affordable Care Act that more and more people are taking advantage of.

CDC

Texas is among the states hardest hit so far by an early-striking flu season, and H1N1 is the strain most commonly reported among diagnoses this year.

Flu season this year is less severe elsewhere on the High Plains. Oklahoma is reporting a moderate flu season as of mid-December, while Colorado and Kansas are experiencing only localized or regional flu outbreaks, according to KUT Austin.

If you live in the Texas Panhandle you’re more likely to be discussing plans for THANKSgiving rather than ThanksGIVing, as you might it Kansas.  There’s commonality in how we speak across the High Plains but also differences.  Click through the slide show above to view some food-related differences in pronunciation and usage across the region. 

NASA Earth Observatory

The destruction caused by wildfires may be obvious to the observer, but one new piece of research brings attention to the potential effects of smoke from those wildfires.

The majority of the High Plains region falls under an area of the nation most affected by plumes of smoke from wildfires and other causes, according to research by environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council.

Bert Vaux (study data) and Joshua Katz (map)

We think of the High Plains as a region with a common geography, environment and economy.  But there are differences in language and dialect.  In some cases Panhandle Texans talk like other Texans and in others case they speak more like western Kansans.  And in still other cases there are differences once you cross the state line into eastern Colorado.  Browse through the dialect maps below to see some of these distinctions.  

Olivia Gordon/StateImpact Texas

It's the newest high-end electric car on the market, and it's not sold in Texas. It's not being sold in many other states, either.

Affordable Care Act Texas: New York Times Sounds Off

Sep 10, 2013
texastribune.org

A recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau revealed there are a significant percentage of Texans without health insurance.  Texas state leaders have been some of the most resistant in the nation to provide coverage for the uninsured under the Affordable Care Act according to a recent editorial in the New York Times.

The gossip on states

Sep 2, 2013

Side-by-side Kansas and Colorado were ranked first as having “the worst” and “the most beautiful” scenery in the country, respectively, according to a recent poll by Business Insider.  It is not clear whether eastern Colorado was considered part of Kansas or Colorado by the poll respondents.

Earl Notingham, Texas Parks and Wildlife / flickr

Drought conditions are long familiar to the Texas Panhandle and are now becoming well known to other parts of the state.  The most recent drought report from the Texas Water Development Board shows that 97 percent of the state is now experiencing some level of drought.

Logan Layden/StateImpact Oklahoma

Texas remains on top of the nation in total wind energy produced in 2012, while Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado are not far behind, according to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Additions to each state's wind generation capacity last year are keeping the four plains states in the top ten of wind energy producers, as indicated by the DOE's Wind Technologies Market Report.

Texas surpassed Kansas to become third in the nation in sunflower production, Texas-based magazine Country World reports.

You may or may not agree with it, but Google has some interesting things to say about where you live.  You just have to know how to ask.

By manipulating the “autocomplete” function implemented by Google, bloggers and journalists alike recently discovered they can trick the search engine into surreptitiously suggesting what may appear to be biased or over-generalized judgments regarding various geographic locales.

Will Rick Perry's name be missing from Texas ballots for the first time in 25 years? It seems to be anybody's guess, say Texas insiders.